Friday, December 05, 2008

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 05, 2008

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New York Times
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-Jobless Rate at 14-Year High After October Losses
The American economy lost another 240,000 jobs in October, the government reported Friday, as cash-strapped consumers pulled back and businesses hunkered down, intensifying the distress gripping much of the country.

-Education: Who Will He Choose?
As in many other areas, the biggest education debates are happening within the Democratic Party. On the one hand, there are the reformers like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee, who support merit pay for good teachers, charter schools and tough accountability standards. On the other hand, there are the teachers' unions and the members of the Ed School establishment, who emphasize greater funding, smaller class sizes and superficial reforms.

-Many Children Lack Stability Long After Storm
Last January, at the age of 15, Jermaine Howard stopped going to school. Attendance seemed pointless: Jermaine, living with his father and brother in the evacuee trailer park known as Renaissance Village since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, had not managed to earn a single credit in more than two years.

-Alaska's New Senator Sees Change at Work
To get elected in Alaska to the United States Senate as a Democrat sometimes requires not acting like one. Talk up drilling for oil in wildlife refuges. Talk up gun rights. Insist that those liberals who control Congress will never push you around.

-Attacks Traced to Two From Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Fresh evidence unearthed by investigators in India indicated that the Mumbai attacks were stage-managed from at least two Pakistani cities by top leaders of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

-Danish Navy Rescues Suspected Pirates
LONDON -- A Danish warship on patrol to thwart piracy in the Gulf of Aden ended up rescuing seven of its presumed prey when its crew found suspected Somali pirates adrift this week with a broken motor on their speedboat, the Danish Navy said on Friday. Danish sailors brought the hungry, thirsty Somalis on board their own ship, a naval official said. Then they sank the speedboat.

Washington Post
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Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn't think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can't.

-Team of Heavyweights
President-elect Barack Obama has appointed an extraordinary team for national security policy. On its face, it violates certain maxims of conventional wisdom: that appointing to the Cabinet individuals with an autonomous constituency, and who therefore are difficult to fire, circumscribes presidential control; that appointing as national security adviser, secretary of state and secretary of defense individuals with established policy views may absorb the president's energies in settling disputes among strong-willed advisers.

-President Got-a-Buck?
Bill Clinton's secret fundraising for his presidential library was wrong -- and so is George W. Bush's.
WHILE ATTENTION has focused on Bill Clinton's belated agreement to release the names of donors to his presidential library, the sitting president, unnoticed, has been raising money for his own. President Bush's secret fundraising is lawful, but it is no more acceptable than Mr. Clinton's was.

-The Bushes Buy a Dallas House
President Bush and the first lady have purchased a house in the Preston
Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, which is where they will live after leaving the White House on Jan. 20, officials said today. The White House declined to release any details of the purchase, including an address or sales price, citing the fact that the couple have not moved in yet.

-Happiness Can Spread Among People Like a Contagion, Study Indicates
Happiness is contagious, spreading among friends, neighbors, siblings and spouses like the flu, according to a large study that for the first time shows how emotion can ripple through clusters of people who may not even know each other.

-EPISCOPAL CHURCH: A Worldwide Anglican Melee
Conservative Revolt Expected to Roil International Communion
Episcopal Church experts and disaffected conservatives predicted yesterday that intense lobbying would soon begin over dissidents' plans to leave the church and create a new Anglican community in the United States.

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-Use of 'N' word causes mistrial in landmark tobacco lawsuit
Racial slur causes Broward County mistrial of lawsuit over cigarettes A Broward Circuit Court judge declared a mistrial Thursday in a landmark tobacco case of a Cooper City widow suing cigarette maker Philip Morris on a wrongful-death claim. An expert witness, on the second day of trial, used a racist term - the N-word - while explaining his research into a project about racism in the tobacco industry, said Gary Paige, an attorney for Elaine Hess, the widow of Stuart Hess.,0,6774620.story

-Progress in AIDS fight should inspire confidence, but not overconfidence
There's been significant progress across the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Countries where the disease is rampant are doing a far better job spreading awareness and providing effective treatments. And many people infected with the relentless HIV virus are living full, productive lives.,0,7777327.story

Miami Herald
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-LEXICON: Abolish the N word
This column is sure to offend many of you -- at least that's what I'm hoping. Because it involves the use of a word we should universally find offensive, but don't: The N word. The media and social experts have been pondering whether we're about to enter a new era in race relations as a result of the recent presidential elections. I, for one, hope so. Race relations is rivaled only by education as a crucial issue that can determine the course of our society. If we're to make progress, then battling the N word, which has become acceptable to too many people when used within a certain context, must surely be on the agenda.

Fort Report
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-Ballot Boxed
by Ben Adler
Just because Obama won a landslide doesn't mean our voting system has been fixed. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the hand-wringing over voting irregularities reached a fever pitch. Rolling Stone published a feature by Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., warning that Republicans may have already stolen the election. The McCain campaign highlighted accusations that the civil rights group ACORN was trying to commit voter fraud by fabricating voter registrations. Voting rights groups sent nearly daily e-mail blasts to reporters obsessing over every state and local incident of voter intimidation or suppression. Even "The Simpsons" had a segment on possible electronic machine malfunctions.

-Bush's Pity Party
Even after all this time, Bush views the Iraq War with regret not over anything he did but rather, over something that was done to him.

-Untold Story of Election 2008: The Death of the NRA
Last month, voters across the country took a cue from the late Charlton Heston and pried the assault weapon from the NRA's cold, dead hands. Although the gun group unleashed everything in its arsenal to defeat Barack Obama and dozens of down ticket gun-control candidates, it lost by a margin as historic as the war chest it opened in an attempt to convince voters that Democrats were mortal enemies of the Second Amendment. Despite expending nearly $7 million in a national fear campaign, NRA-endorsed candidates lost 80 percent of their races against gun-control candidates. More than 90 percent of candidates endorsed by the NRA's nemesis, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, won their races. If 2008 was, in the NRA's own words, "arguably the most important year in its history," then the election results suggest that the gun group is arguably the most overhyped and impotent special-interest lobby in the country. The NRA even got its chamber cleaned in its home state of Virginia.

-Suit contesting Barack Obama's citizenship heads to U.S. Supreme Court today
Justices will decide whether to consider the case
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider today whether to take up a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship, a continuation of a New Jersey case embraced by some opponents of Obama's election.,0,664988.story

-Barack Obama campaign raised nearly $1 billion, shattering records
Fundraising outpaced combined total of Bush and Kerry in 2004 election, records show,0,6244688.story

-Chris Matthews Inches Toward Senate Run
Politico: MSNBC Host Advised To Quit Cable Channel Sooner Rather Than Later Chris Matthews is dead serious about running for the Senate in Pennsylvania - and shopping for a house in the state and privately discussing quitting MSNBC as proof of his intense interest, according to NBC colleagues, political operatives, and friends.

-Fidel Castro says Cuba open to talks with Obama
AVANA (Reuters) - Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Thursday his country was open to talks with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, Havana's latest overture toward the incoming Democratic administration in Washington. "With Obama, talks could happen anywhere he wants," Castro, America's longtime Cold War enemy, wrote in the latest of a series of columns he has published in state-run media since falling ill in 2006.

From Southern Poverty Law Center
Tune in today at 2 p.m. Eastern - and hear about the recent court victory against the Imperial Klans of America.
Live Webcast - Imperial Klans of America Lawsuit
Date: Today, Dec. 5, 2008
Time: 2 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern
Morris Dees and the SPLC legal team just won a crushing $2.5 million verdict against Ron Edwards, leader of the Imperial Klans of America, and one of his chief lieutenants for the brutal beating of a Kentucky teenager. Our client is an American of Panamanian descent. But to the Klansmen who attacked him, he was nothing more than an "illegal spic." Morris and SPLC President Richard Cohen will discuss the challenges of holding hate groups and their leaders accountable for the actions of their members and the effect our trial strategy has had on the hate movement. They'll also discuss how the election of Barack Obama and the current economy are creating a perfect storm for white supremacist groups. You will have the opportunity to submit questions for Morris and Richard before and during the webcast. We look forward to your participation today! Your friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center. How to participate: Register here to join the webcast.


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